The Benefits of Easy Programming
Adding intelligent end of arm toolinhg to a robot arm enables manufacturers to increase their efficiency and automate more than they thought possible. But, only a reduced time for robot programming and integration makes these benefits accessible for small and medium-sized companies as well.
In highly competitive markets, sensitive automation promises decisive advantages for manufacturers. However, although it makes companies more productive in the long run, it always starts with an investment:
- The automated solution itself
- The time it takes to integrate the system
- Any downtime on the production line has a cost
The more time integration takes, the more expensive it gets:
- Paying employees and external service providers is costly
- The longer it takes before an application is up and running, the longer it takes to see the return on investment
- If a robot is complicated to handle, staff will need expensive training
- In the worst case, production stops altogether during integration and setup
For small and medium-sized companies these issues may turn out to be very problematic.
Therefore, users need end-of-arm tooling that is fast to deploy.
Manufacturing robots: fast integration increases efficiency
The time it takes to program a robot is essential when it comes to determining its profitability. It takes applications that are up and running quickly and therefore provide a quick return on investment to give companies of all sizes the benefits of automation. The collaborative grippers RG2 and RG6 make this possible- both can be deployed much faster than conventional models.
If gripping tools attach in a plug-and-play-style, they give companies the flexibility to choose from a wide range of applications. This flexibility is extremely useful in an environment where robots are frequently redeployed. In electronics manufacturing, for instance, work orders may change from day to day. Flexible applications help companies meet the changing demands.
Where flexibility is concerned, choosing a manufacturer whose products are compatible with many different manufacturers is key:
- All OnRobot products are compatible with Universal Robots robot arms
- The nature inspired Gecko Gripper can be mounted on Fanuc and Kawasaki robot arms
- The RG2-FT Gripper and the HEX Force/Torque Sensors are also compatible with KUKA robotics
- From mid-February 2019, the RT2, RT6 and V10 will also support KUKA, FANUC, Kawasaki, Techman, Doosan, NACHI and Yaskawa robots
In most cases, gripping technologies can be operated via the robot arm’s interface, benefitting from the intuitive handling their manufacturers offer. KUKA for instance offers a hand-held device that is fairly easy to use and enables workers to create customized programs for robotic applications.
In the end, however, it is the whole application that counts: both end-effector and the robot arm need to be easy to operate in order to guarantee a user-friendly application.
Simple robot programming makes automation easy
On top of that, pre-programmed software packages help to keep integration time short.
Pre-programmed software, conceptualized in a user-friendly way, gives customers all the instructions they need to install the robot themselves. Configuring the robot’s settings can be done in a matter of minutes. Some manufacturers like Universal Robots or OnRobot even offer software that can easily be updated via USB-sticks.
When robots are programmed in such an intuitive way, workers can easily learn to operate them without being an engineer or a programmer. Training time is minimized and employees can concentrate on more important tasks – while the robots take over strenuous, repetitive work.
This increases the acceptance of automation within the working environment and helps to convince employees of the necessary change. Especially in small, family businesses, easy programming can be crucial for success.
Intuitive installation means a fast track to profits
Moreover, a short integration time and easy use mean a fast track to profits. As soon as the robot is up and running, it improves both productivity and product quality.
At the same time, automation quickly reduces production costs, resulting in a measurable benefit for the company.
Thus, short deployment time results in a quick return on investment.
This renders automation an accessible and profitable option even for small and medium-sized companies: Danish gear manufacturer Osvald Jensen remarkably increased its productivity by retrofitting their CNC machines with RG2 Dual Grippers by OnRobot. They were able to reduce waiting times in production by almost 50 percent. Three months after installation, the purchase had already paid off.
Only when they are fast to deploy and easy to use, do manufacturing robots live up to their potential.
It takes user-friendly gripping and sensing systems for manufacturers to get the most out of automation – and to make it accessible for companies of all sizes.